Policy Assessment


Air transportation is an essential and ever-growing part of the US and world economy. However, air transportation causes adverse environmental impacts such as climate change, degradation of air quality, and increased noise. To mitigate these adverse effects,  policies are developed that impact aircraft technologies and operations.

A major challenge in assessing aviation environmental policies is in considering tradeoffs between environmental domains – air quality, climate change and noise.

Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment noise research

The Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment engages in policy assessment work that aids the FAA and the international policymaking bodies in formulating and evaluating aviation policy. For example, we are developing an aircraft carbon dioxide certification standard. In addition, we are researching the way in which the National Air Transportation System may adapt to possible policies aimed at decreasing fuel burn. The goal of this work is to ensure that policies will incentivize manufacturers and operators to act in ways that lead to overall system level fuel burn decreases and also to ensure that the system is capable of accommodating such changes.

The Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment has also developed a set of tools, called the Aviation Environmental Portfolio Management Tool (APMT), which is used to assess the physical and monetary damages of aviation policies. These tools are used to compare the relative impacts of policies on aviation noise, air quality, and climate to ensure that actions taken produce an overall environmental benefit.

Outcomes and applications

Our policy assessment work helps the FAA develop and understand the implications of domestic aviation related policies. It also assists the FAA’s contributions to international policy in its role as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Recent archival publications on ‘Policy & Economics’